Community Animal Hospital Blog

Pet First Aid: Preparedness

0 Comments Posted by CommunityAHAdmin in Pet First Aid on Thursday, May 26th, 2016.

Seeing your pet become sick or injured can be a very stressful experience.  Taking the right first steps to care for your pet are critical to their road to recovery.  In these situations, asking “Siri” or “Dr. Google” what to do may not necessarily be in your pet’s best interest.  The goal of this blog series, Pet First Aid, is to have readers ready for common pet emergencies (as much as possible).  In part one of the Pet Fist Aid series, we’ll talk about how to be prepared before an urgent situation arises.

⇒  Who you gonna call?

Getting the right instructions and recommendations from a reliable source is one of the most important steps in getting your pet well.  We offer 24 hour on call emergency services for regular clients at Community Animal Hospital.  Having our clinic’s number on your refrigerator (ask us for a magnet!) or programmed into your phone are smart ways to ensure you can reach us quickly.  Another number to consider keeping is the ASPCA’s Poison Control, who has board-certified Veterinary Toxicologists on staff to handle poisonings in pets.  Please note that there is a fee associated with contacting the ASPCA.  Their number is 1 (888) 426-4435.

⇒  Pet First Aid Supplies:

→  Bandage materials:  Typically found easily at local pharmacies, bandage materials are good to have on hand.  Gauze is used to clean and cover open wounds.  Non-stick bandages/clean clothes can be used to stop bleeding and protect a wound.  Self-adhesive bandage roll material (like Vetwrap) and bandage tape ( not bandaids) can be used to hold gauze over a wound and keep the bandage in place.

→  3% hydrogen peroxide:  Used to clean wounds, as well as induce vomiting.  This should only be used as directed by your veterinarian.

→  Muzzle, leash and/or carrier:  although your pet maybe very well-mannered, when injuries occur, pets may bite or growl for the sole reason of protecting themselves.  Muzzles should not be used if your pet is vomiting.  A leash and collar are used to transport dogs, who are able to walk.  A pet carrier should be used for cats and sometimes small dogs.

→  Digital thermometer and KY Jelly lubricant:  Taking your pets temperature rectally at home may be helpful to assess a fever or hypothermia.  Muzzles are occasionally needed to do this, as well as a second pair of hands.

→  Tweezers:  The ideal at home tool for removing embedded ticks from your pet.  Check out this CDC link for instructions:

→  Styptic Powder:  Kwik Stop brand or other alternatives are a good item to have if you trim your pet’s nails at home, in case you accidentally cut them too short and cause bleeding.

 ⇒  An Emergency Kit

You may face a personal situation or severe weather that may necessitate you to take your pet out of your home abruptly.  Your pet’s information (vaccine records, microchip number, age, breed, weight) and a photo are good to keep in case your pet becomes lost during travel.  Medication, bedding and extra food are other kit items to consider.  Check out the American Red Cross’ page for more information:


Being prepared is the first step in successfully handling pet emergencies.  Community Animal Hospital is always on call for your pet’s needs.  If you ever feel uncomfortable with your pet’s condition, if you have any questions or concerns, the best thing is to do is call us right away.  Stay tuned for future Pet First Aid series blogs, when we’ll talk about first steps in handling pet emergencies at home and what to expect during an emergency exam.

Michael C. Owen, DVM Associate Veterinarian Community Animal Hospital

Michael C. Owen, DVM
Associate Veterinarian
Community Animal Hospital

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